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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Giddyup

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I’ve been struggling lately with my poor old broken heart. Lots of tears, regrets, missing Mr. F—you know how it goes. The pessimist in me keeps beating me down, telling me I’ve missed my last chance for love, that it’ll never be that good again EVER, and it’s all my fault that the relationship came to an end.

The optimist in me knows it’s all a load of crap.

You’ve heard the story of the optimist and the pessimist, right? It goes something like this:

Researchers were studying traits of optimism and pessimism in children. Two ten-year old boys were brought in as study participants.

The first one, a pessimist, was put in a room full of all the latest popular toys and left there on his own for an hour. After the hour had passed, the researcher assigned to him opened the door and found the boy sitting on the floor crying, the toys untouched.

“Why are you crying?” the researcher asked.  “Why didn’t you play with the toys?”

The boy looked at him and wailed, “I was afraid to! I just knew I’d break them and then I’d be in big trouble!”

Meanwhile, the other boy, an optimist, was also placed alone in a room, this one filled with manure. At the end of an hour, the researcher opened the door to find the boy slinging poop and grinning from ear to ear.

Somewhat startled by this, the researcher  asked, “Why are you so happy?”

The boy stopped for a moment and replied, “Are you kidding? With all this crap in here, there’s got to be a pony somewhere!”

The moral of the story? If you want the pony, you’re gonna have to go through some crap first.

Giddyup.

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My Sunday Sky

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Sunny but blustery.

My Sunday Sky will be a semi-regular feature.

Honestly?

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“Yes, I understand you’re giving an honest opinion. Yes, there is still a line between being honest and being rude.”

I came across this expression recently while messing around on Pinterest, and it was one of those things that struck me as being true.

How often have you said (and how often have I said), “I’m just being honest”? Is that necessary? It’s one of those phrases that tends to set my teeth on edge, a kissing cousin to “I don’t mean to be rude, but . . . .” Really? Because yes, you do. You do mean to be rude, or hurtful, or to make someone else feel bad so you can feel better about yourself.

Why do we do this? Are we really so petty and small-minded and so needing to feel superior that we have to do it at the expense of someone else’s feelings?

I’m convinced that a lot of the rudeness and meanness in the world can be attributed to one thing: insecurity. We all want and, on some level, need to be important. We need to matter. Sometimes we even need to be right. But we don’t need to do this always at the expense of others.

I think there’s a better way. Put yourself in the other person’s place, just for a moment. Think about how you’ve felt when someone felt the need to bludgeon you with “honesty.”  I don’t care what the old children’s rhyme says, words can and do hurt. Physical wounds heal in time, and while they may well leave a scar, the words you say can cut so deep that it may take years, or a lifetime, for the hurt to go away. Ask me how I know.

Sass is all about being secure, being grounded and confident enough that there’s no need to engage in screaming matches (politics, anyone? or that relationship that’s gone wrong?), no need to be the playground bully, no need to be the squeaky wheel. Sass has a quiet confidence that doesn’t need to be right all the time.

Your opinions are kind of like your underpants—there’s a time when it’s okay for them to be seen, but most of the time it’s best to keep them out of sight.

That’s just my opinion. Honestly.

The Holy Trinity

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In yesterday’s post, I mentioned the Holy Trinity of mind, body, and spirit, and the need to honor each of the three in order to find fulfillment and happiness in life. Here’s a short explanation of why I see this as necessary.

Think of a three-legged stool—without any one leg, using the stool becomes a precarious balancing act. You can sit on it, sure, but you’ll wobble and be uneasy and get cranky from the effort of trying not to fall over. All three legs of the stool are vital if you’re to sit calmly, comfortably, and with confidence.

So it is in life. I only know this because I once had all three legs of my stool in place. Now I don’t. I wobble.

Weebles may wobble and not fall down, but it’s not so with me. I fall all the time. I lie there feebly trying to get up, like an overturned bug trying to right itself. It’s sad, it’s pathetic, and sometimes it’s comical, but it’s a common experience. You’ve been there, too.

The good news is, I don’t have to stay there. Confucius said, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” It helps to have that stool in place, even as broken-down and unsteady as mine is now. There’s still some residual support, and I can use it to get up again. That’s good news, but the better news is that I have the tools at my disposal to rebuild and strengthen my stool into something solid and dependable, something I can rely on, no matter the circumstances. That’s kind of awesome if you think about it.

Here we go. Deep breath.

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So. Here it begins, another blog in a clogged blog world. Maybe I have something to say that means something. And maybe I’m just indulging myself, or I’m looking for a quick and easy panacea for what ails me, or I’m blogging because all the cool kids are doing it. This could all be about wish fulfillment. I don’t know.

What I do know is this: I started the year on a positive note, declaring I’d get my sass back. There was a time, not all that long ago, when it was good to be me and that was how it would be again. I was determined this would be the year when I’d find the secure, positive girl I’d once worked so hard to become and had somehow lost touch with and so, last January, the Sassback Initiative was launched. This was the year I’d lose weight (like everyone else),  get back to the simple yet profound practices that had enabled me to transform myself once before, find or create a job I could live with. I was in a good relationship and I’d begun planning a move to be near Mr. F, my long-distance boyfriend.

I’m coming to the end of the year and, taking stock, I’ve done very little toward those goals. I’m unemployed, I’m still fat, I’ve turned sometimes hard and bitter, my boyfriend just broke up with me, and oh yeah, I’m 52. Sit with that for a minute. Sass? Not so much.

You know that old saw about a journey of a thousand miles beginning with a single step. This is it for me. It’s getting back to the tried and true methods that worked for me years ago when I broke out of my shell and started living, when I found my sass and wasn’t afraid to use it. More on that later, but what it boils down to is this: honoring the Holy Trinity of mind, body, and spirit. I’m convinced that true happiness and contentment and fulfillment as a human being requires addressing each of these areas without sacrificing any one for any of the others. It’s also about having some laughs and a side of snark along the way.

Bear with me. In time, it’ll be less about ME! ME! ME! and more about community. Whatever your personal circumstances, however different they are from mine or anyone else’s, we all share a common journey through life. My experience has been that it’s best to find companions along the way. My friend Ann’s email signature sums it up best: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

So. Here it begins. The Sassback Initiative (Part Deux) has commenced. I don’t know where I’m headed yet, but I need to start. Maybe you’ll want to come along for a while and see what happens.  It’s cool if you do.